Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013
Subject: 4 DOM

So the mission sends us these e-mails entitled 4 MOM, otherwise known as four months of miracles.  So I decided to call this one 4 DOM, for four days of miracles. :D
The worldwide leadership training was AWESOME and in light of that I would like to make a few comments: A. Yes mother you can do whatever you want with the blog and the facebook, but I may be doing that myself soon. ;) B. EVERYBODY should have a profile on  It is truthfully an amazing way to share the gospel.  The worldwide leadership broadcast had a heavy emphasis on technology and the internet and it's potential for sharing the gospel.  In these days people respond a lot better to internet advertising than to somebody knocking on their door. C. Not only a profile, but you should be familiar with the website yourselves!  It's awesome!  Luke, sometimes instead of watching Homestarrunner or Adventure Time, or Mom instead of doing LDSHE stuff, watch some "I'm a Mormon" videos!  They're the greatest!
On Thursday we were tracting among some townhouses when we saw this younger guy sitting on his front step smoking while his young daughter blew bubbles.  We approached him and asked him if we could say a prayer with him.  In a somewhat angry voice he responded, "Yeah, pray that I can get a job."  Elder H said, "Sure."  So we did.  After the prayer his attitude was completely different.  We then told him about LDS employment services and told him we would get him the address.  Not a new investigator, but a miracle!  That evening we went to the Oddo's and had a lesson.  He's still having a hard time, and doesn't feel like he could live the word of wisdom right now.  Brother Dabel, our ward mission leader, helped us to explain that with God, all things are possible, and that through obedience to the gospel we can find peace in our most trying times.  He's still not back on date, but it was a great lesson.
So we had gotten this referral that we had been trying to contact for about two weeks to no avail.  On this day of miracles our Bishop called us with a referral that turned out to be the same guy!  His name is Ron and HE had actually called the Bishop to get ahold of US.  So we called him and set up an appointment for the next day.  We had dinner at the Steens and watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration with them.  Brother Steen said afterwards, "Now ol' Jo Smith may have been a prophet, but I don't understand what his problem is with coffee!"  So we're going to teach him the Word of Wisdom next week haha.
We got a call from the Medford 1st elders saying that a progressing investigator with a baptismal date was moving into our ward!  So we helped her move in on this miraculous day.  She's a redhead!  Haha but she's definitely a tender mercy.  We'll be getting to know her and her situation better soon.  Then at 4:00 we went to our lesson with Ron.  He was incredibly open.  He was raised Roman Catholic but had turned away from religion for a long time.  He had turned to our church because of the incredible example and light that members of the church had been to him.  He loves Lindsey Stirling haha (she has a profile on hint). We taught him the Restoration and committed him to baptism on July 13th.
He came to church with Brother Dabel, and it turns out that he was really good friends with another member in our ward!  Ron had been prepared to receive the gospel in large part by this Brother who had been a good example to him.  Then we taught this awesome guy named Daniel.  We had talked to him on the street and gotten his address a while ago, then we finally got this appointment set up for yesterday.  His father is (or was) a member and he knows a lot about our doctrine already, so he had asked to read from the Bible with us.  We went over there, and found that he had invited two of his friends over!  So we read John 3 with them then watched the corresponding Bible Video.  After the video, one of Daniel's friends, Mike, unexpectedly started asking us about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  We answered his questions, then gave him a copy.  We asked if we could go back same time next week, and Daniel said sure, then we asked if we should read from the Bible or the Book of Mormon?  Daniel was like, uhhhh, and Mike said, "I think we should read from the Book of Mormon!"  Miracle indeed.
Love you all!

Elder Georgia
June 17, 2013

Sure Mother I would love for you to make me a blog IF you think you could manage one more thing without having a nervous breakdown. :)
Thanks so much for following through on my commitments haha!
So this last week was really slow.....  I think everyone went somewhere for the summer that isn't White City.  It cooled down a bit though!  On Wednesday we were on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and we taught the Steens.  Did I tell you about them yet?  If I didn't, tell me to tell you because they're super awesome.  But we had an intense lesson where we got deep into how they really need to get an answer about joining the church or not.  It was way cool.  Sister Steen came to church yesterday and brought her granddaughter!  Yaya!
Well this was the lamest e-mail ever.  But I love yall and I'll send a better one next week!

Elder Georgia!
June 10, 2013

So here in White City, we have these nasty things called goatheads.  They're a type of seed with wicked thorns growing out of them, and we get them stuck in our tires ALL the TIME.  Luckily the Browns (coolest people ever) have decided to open a specialty bike shop just for reparing missionary tires.  Yes!
Good job on the missionary work fam!  I like that you're not being pushy with the neighbors but you ARE getting them involved in spiritual atmospheres.
Reading Brittany and Hailey's e-mails made me sooo happy. :3  It's great to hear that they're both so excited for the work they're doing!

One of the Eagle Point elders just walked in randomly and said, "Just remember: If you ever feel like trash, God recycles."  I thought it was pretty profound haha.
Last week we were blessed with three new investigators!  1. Dave is the husband of an excommunicated woman in the ward who we had been teaching.  We lost contact with him for a while but last week we had a great meeting with him and we set up to meet with him every tuesday!  2. Jim is the Brown's neighbor (I think I talked about him, he's the spiritual leader of the Shasta Nation).  Elder Haidenthaller went over there on splits and brought a member who is also a veteran-part indian, and they hit it off.  3. We met Daniel a while ago on the street.  He gave us his address and we went over there a lot but couldn't get ahold of him.  Yesterday he was home and we talked and set up a return appointment!
I love being a missionary.  I'm learning that there will always be hard times, but if we push past those and focus on the blessings, life becomes a whole lot brighter!

Elder Georgia
June 3, 2013

Allooooooo People!
So on Saturday we had a baptism!  It wasn't a convert baptism because she was 8, but it was still awesome!  Her name is Lilliana, and we've been teaching her because her family hadn't been very active for most of her life (her father isn't a member).  Lilliana told her mother she wanted to be baptized and her mom just wanted her to know what she was doing.  Elder Haidenthaller gave a talk and I got to baptize her.  She was kind of nervous when she came into the font, I told her to plug her nose after the prayer and she said, "I don't know what to say in the prayer," hahaha.  Then we got to teach her and her little brother's primary class the next day.
Also on Saturday we got to go to an Indian powwow(?) during our lunch hour because one of our potential investigators is the spiritual leader for the Shasta Nation.  And we ate indian tacos, yum.
Hmmmm the rest of the week was good.  We have lots of potentially awesome investigators, but making them actual investigators is the tricky part.
Love you muchas!
May 28, 2013

Hey you know the book Seth was reading about ducks and numbers?  Well right as soon as I got off Skype with you guys the little boy whose house we were at brought up a book for me to read to him, and it was the exact same book!!!  This boy was like five though so it wasn't as awesome.  I was gonna tell you guys but I forgot.
President Young told us this awesome story, and I relate:  In the mission there was an investigator who had been investigating the church for FOURTY-TWO YEARS.  This person finally got baptized recently, and they entirely credit this decision to a barely out from the MTC sister missionary who wasn't even called to this mission.  She was only here because she was waiting for a visa to go to Denmark or something.  God sends us to specific places to meet specific people, we may not understand it, but He does.
Another cool fact about White City, it started out as Camp White, a military base used during World War 2!  The city still uses a few of the old military buildings and out in some of the farms there's these old abandoned bunkers they used to practice in-field combat in.  They also kept a lot of German prisoners-of-war here.
I've been doing good!  We've been getting a lot of potentials through tracting.  I was again very glad that our companionship didn't change as we were able to set transfer goals that built on and expounded on last transfer's goals.  A few of our goals were to have three baptisms this transfer, and when we visit members to always have a message to share with them, as opposed to just dropping in.  This goal kind of came from an elderly couple in our ward who find it difficult to make it to church due to health.  They really enjoy us stopping by and so we were quite often and we were sharing a scripture with them each time.  After a few weeks they started thinking of family members, neighbors, and friends, they could invite to hear the gospel.  Because of them, we've already been able to get two new investigators, we're going to meet another one this week, and they have some other friends they're thinking of inviting in the future.  Yay!
Love you a bunch, sorry I haven't been writing very much.

Elder Georgia
May 20, 2013
Subject: Planted in White Soil
We're staying!!!  Yay!
So I'm having to use a library computer today so I can't send any pictures and I only have 7 minutes, sorry!  Next week I'll send a good e-mail! (although I may be going to Crater Lake....)
But guess what!  I was on exchanges in Medford and we were walking along and I thought I heard someone yell, "George!" from one of the cars.  That's what Elder Palmer called me.  The car came back again and it was Elder Palmer, he yelled, "George!" again, then they came back and offered to give us a ride to where we were going.  was fun to see Elder Palmer but the point of the story is that he told me Sister Bybee had texted him to say that Karin Siggel got baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :[   ]

We didn't get to see the Oddos this week........  We taught GKL and that's going good but Garrett is really hard to teach because he has absolutely no background in religion.  We found a few new investigators, Edgar, who's a good friend of a totally awesome less-active family in the ward and Jay and Coy who are cool.  They all live in the same trailer park.
May 6, 2013

I feel like my birthday just keeps continuing.  I just got some love from the Georgia side of the family, I will respond individually!  Yes Mother the camera came too and it's awesome!  I thought I mentioned it already, but it's super nice.
I'm aware of the time spent on my mission already, but I try not to think about it.  It seems like it couldn't possibly be that long!  We're still living in Eagle Point but we should be moving in our new apartment this week.  Possibly tomorrow.  But because of the desperate need to have some space, we've been helping out on the stairs-building project.  We spent a few hours almost every day last week staining cedar green.  The green stain is actually really pretty when done right (it took us a while to master it).  For some reason the whole time we spent staining the semi-flesh-colored wood green, I had Wicked songs stuck in my head.  "Like a froggy, ferny, cabbage, the baby is unnaturally... GREEEEEN!!!"  I thought of you Adrianne.
That's awesome that you stalked me to Senor Sam's!  That place is the best! (actually it kind of just makes me miss Cafe Rio)  We sometimes go there after District Meetings which are at the Central Point Stake Center which is right next to the Medford Temple!
I like the Baby story.  She's so silly.  You should send some pictures!
Luke!  Be in the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat!  That would be the best!  Well, try out for it anyways.  What do you have to lose?  You have tons to gain!  I would think you were cool!  JK I always thought you were cool.
Soooo remember the hacky-sack people?  Well we went back on saturday but only the woman was there, she told us that just before we had stopped by the week before, her (Kristina) and her husband (Levi) had been talking to Levi's 11 yr-old brother who lived with them, (Garrett) and they found out that Garrett doesn't know anything about God or Jesus Christ!  He's heard people say the names (probably profanely) but he doesn't actually know who they are.  Levi and Kristina don't go to church but they definitely believe in God, so they were a bit concerned about that.  Then when we played hacky-sack with them and asked if we could come back to share a message it was perfect timing!  So monday we went over there and sat outside to talk to them. We taught simply about the Plan of Salvation and the nature of God and Jesus Christ.  It was cool.
We also had a way good lesson with Bro. Oddo on Monday.  Right after we said the opening prayer he started talking about how much he had liked the Bishop's wife's talk and the conversation transitioned perfectly into what we had planned on teaching!  It turned into kind of a testimony meeting with us, the member we brought, and Bro. Oddo all talking about the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives.
April 29, 2013

We did get a new apartment!  We'll move in this week.  It's an apartment on the top floor of a lady in our ward, so they've gotta build an outside entrance before we can live in it and they're doing that right now and it'll be done soon.  But it's right in White City so if we have to bike again we won't kill ourselves, the apartment is fully furnished, the rent was pretty cheap but it will help out the old lady, and we won't have to study on the floor anymore!  I'm pretty excited.
Guess what!  I wasn't really sick, I just suddenly have awful allergies!  So I'm medicated now.  But I hear that this valley and the Willamette valley are the worst places in the world for allergies.
This week we had a really good experience that helped me understand just how important listening is.  We visited Sister Steen, a less-active lady whose husband and stepson aren't members and she just had so much to tell us about them and how she thinks we can help them to live the gospel and eventually she got into talking about herself and her testimony and why she isn't active in the church.  Listening does not mean being silent!  You've got to give affirmation that you're listening, and when the Spirit directs you can make a comment, ask a question, or give an insight, but when someone has a lot to say you let them carry on most of the conversation.  That is when the Spirit is strongest, when you are actively listening to the thoughts of their hearts.  We're also having good lessons with the Oddo's (the bear-slayers).  Brother Oddo is continuing to progress, to read the Book of Mormon and to ponder on it.  We'll continue to work on the prayer part.  They came to church yesterday for the first time since we've been here and brought their two daughters.  Sister Steen was there also.

I loved the package, thanks!  It was super awesome and made me laugh.  Don't worry mama your birthday is not forgotten!  It'll be late, but my love will come in a box!  Seth's laughter is so appreciated. :3
April 22, 2013

So this week was prooty groot!  We met with the Oddo family again on Monday.  Last week we had given Sister Oddo a Priesthood blessing cuz she wasn't feeling well, so this week we sort of went over the Restoration with an emphasis on the restoration of the Priesthood.  When we mentioned that the Priesthood gives us the authority to baptize, Brother Oddo stopped us and said, "So what are the steps to being baptized?"  We invited him to be baptized right there, and he accepted.  He told us he wants to be baptized so he can be sealed to his family forever!!!
We've done a lot this week that has made me feel like I'm following in the footsteps of my parents.  First: we were trying to visit a less-active lady, but she wasn't feeling well so we decided to tract her whole street (it wasn't too long).  The first door we knocked on was a little old abuelita who told us, "No engles."  We tracted the rest of the street and were about to leave when Elder Heidenthaller remembered that we had a libro de mormon in the car.  Hehehe so we went to the car and practiced our espanol door approach.  We went up and knocked on her door again.  I don't know what she thought when she saw us there for the second time, but Elder H introduced us in gringo, then I read the last two paragraphs of the introduction to the Book of Mormon to her in spanish.  We then handed the book to her along with a card with the spanish elder's phone number on it.  She accepted the book then started asking us all these questions, haha we had pretty much no idea what she was saying so we were just nodding and si-ing.  It was so awesome.  We told the spanish elders, Elder (Ash) Ketchum and Elder Jesperson (I didn't really have a reason to put their names in there aside from the fact that I've never known anyone named Ketchum before and I think it's hilarious-and we've now been in the same district for three of my four transfers), and they visited her on Saturday.  They found her outside making some gross mexican food and they told her  more about the Book of Mormon (she hadn't read any of it yet) and said a prayer with her.  They said the prayer made her cry. :) Second: we ran out of monthly miles for our car on Wednesday so on Thursday we had to walk three miles along the highway from Eagle Point to White City (Elder H's bike tire was punctured and we couldn't find an inner tube of the right size) and then all around White City.  It was pretty exhausting.  On Friday we got the bike fixed and have been biking everywhere which is muchas bien.  But Dad walked a lot on his mission right?
Last awesome experience of the week: we were riding our bikes in the suburban type area of our ward when we passed some guys playing hacky-sack (spelling?).  They called out to us and asked if we wanted to join in.  I was starting to decline, for I know not how, when Elder H was like, yeah sure!  So he went over and played with them for a bit, a lady came out of the house and joined in, and they all had fun (I just watched for I know not how).  After a bit, Elder H said it was time to go, but then he asked if we we could come bacl=k and share a message with them!  I was surprised at his boldness, but was even more surprised when the lady said, "Sure I think that would be a great idea."!  So because of my comp's inspiration we got an awesome family of potential investigators. :D
Oh yeah I'm sick again... no biggie.
I'm excited for my P-day B-day present.  :3 We just had Mission President interviews though and he was surprised that we were still living with Eagle Point and told us that we needed to get our own apartment real fast.  Soon after that a few good potential apartments popped up that we're gonna look into, so I still don't know but we might move soon.
I'm so glad to hear about Seth's Georgianess, especially his burgeoning (a real word?) artistic abilities.
I can't believe you've signed up to lead LDSHE Mom.  You're crazy. <3


Love Elder G
April 15, 2013
Subject: Jerusalem to Minas Tirith

Dear People,
I'm still living in a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment with three other elders.  So mom you should probably just send the package to the mission office address because who knows when we'll find a new apartment.  Elder Heidenthaller and I solely cover the White City ward which we were able to attend for the first time yesterday.  It was awesome!  The talks were pretty much right from PMG on the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation.  A bunch of the less-actives and a few investigators we had met during the week showed up for sacrament. :D  Our Ward Mission Leader is pretty great.  Him and his family kind of remind me of the Nelsons.  The kids are homeschooled and are really smart.  We had Ward Council after church and it seemed like it was straight out of the District videos.  They used the progress record as the main agenda and then they discussed how they could help the less actives and part member families and others in need of help, instead of a bunch of useless things.  It was way cool.
President Young has recently asked us to invite members to pray for streets for us to tract.  As I wrote this I realized that this is something we should start doing in our new area.  Everything's pretty far apart here, and good tracting streets are few and far between.  Inspiration!
I definitely can't watch any Youtube, I just want Seth to be recorded for when I get back so I can laugh at him then muahaha.  Anything else is too complicated.
Worst thing ever!  My camera's totally broke!  Can you send it a little moolah?  No but really, when I try to turn it on it just says, "lens failure" and turns back off.  Saddest of days!  Whatever canst be done??  I might just buy a cheapo kind.
Hahaha this is random, but we've been borrowing a gps from another elder because neither I nor my companion have one and there's no way we could get anywhere without it (we have enough problems getting around as it is).  But for the longest time we thought it couldn't talk because it wasn't high-tech enough, and it didn't have a mount, so Elder H would just hold it and tell me where to go.  Then just yesterday we discovered that all we had to do was turn up the volume....  So we did and it had this Australian man's voice!  It talked just like one of our AP's from Australia so we named it Elder Mckenzie after him.  It says, "turn left on Highway 65," and we say, "Blimey! Thanks Mckenzie!"  Oh pointless paragraph.
K.  So we have some really great people to work with here.  We're teaching the Oddo family, Sister Oddo had had her records removed but she wants to come back, and Brother Oddo is investigating with a very open mind. :)  He's not someone I would like to meet at night in a cage surrounded by cheering crowds though.  Haha he's an MMA fighter with a neck more broad than my shoulders and tattoo's all up his arms.  He is also a bear hunter, a bull rider, and a racecar driver.  The whole family is pretty great.  Their daughter who's about six was playing catch with me the other day and she started saying, "Hey dad, I mean missionary...."  So I'm already a father.
Another awesome family is the Steens.  The wife is a super nice less-active member, the husband is an extremely argumentative but fun nonmember who has taken the lessons millions of times but has never joined, and his son is being really introduced to the church for the first time.  Steen junior believes more in religion being between God and oneself, but he really likes that we ask him to read the Book of Mormon and find out for himself of its truth and divinity.  He says everything he's been taught so far just makes sense.  So I'm pretty excited for him, and I think that Steen senior will come around eventually.  Then Sister Steen will be able to have an eternal family! :D
So things are going pretty great here.  I hope that this e-mail was long enough for you mom.  I love you all,
Elder Georgia

April 9, 2013
Subject: Amazing Elder Georgia

Georgia family,
My name is Tracy Bybee. Your son served in our ward until his transfer to White City yesterday. We had the pleasure of having him in our home many times while our son Sam was preparing to leave for his mission to NY. Elder Georgia's spirit of love and dedication to The Lord added so much to the spirit in our home at that exciting time. When I heard, last Sunday, he would be leaving our ward I felt as if I were saying goodbye to my own son all over again. Thank you for your sacrifice and diligence in teaching your son of the importance of serving Our Savior. He will bless many lives and is a great example to us all.
Tracy Bybee
April 9, 2013
Subject: Transferred!

Yup it happened.  I'm now in the White City Ward, Central Point Stake.  It's pretty far from Salem.  This area is much more middle-of-nowhere than Salem too.  I like it. :D  I got double transferred in with Elder Haidenthaller who has only been out six weeks so I'm doing his follow-up training.  He's awesome.  This is my first real day being here so I don't know a whole lot about it yet, but we're gonna visit a lot of active and less-active ward members today so that'll help.  We don't have an apartment or a phone!  We're actually living on the street!  No just kidding, we're living with the Eagle Point missionaries in their tiny apartment and sharing their phone.  Eagle Point and White City have always been covered by one set of missionaries until this transfer, they just barely split it.  So one of the elders we're living with knows everything about our area and that's a big help.

Conference was sooo amazing.  One of my favorites was the one about how Jesus Christ is the source of peace.  He didn't bring world peace, but he brought peace to our hearts and our families.  I can't remember who that was though....  I also loved Elder Holland talking about how we can rely on our faith or our belief.  When we have doubts, we should start with what we DO know to be true and work from there.

Pleeeease record Seth talking.  I need to hear his jibber-jabber. :3

So Adri isn't going to Mozambique?

That's all for now!

Love you!

Elder Georgia
April 1, 2013

Subject: Easter is not for fools.
I seriously almost had a heart attack there.  That was not very nice.
So is Adri going to Mozambique or not????  My brain doesn't work anymore......
But anyways, my Easter was really nice!  Yes I did get my treacherous Mother's package, and I did enjoy it quite mucho.  The MOTAB cd is the bestestest.  Did you get one for yourselves too??  You should, it's super joyful.  I haven't got around to reading the whole article yet.....
We had a nice Easter program, and for dinner we had ham and rolls and potatoes and deviled eggs just like we have at home!  Oregon is so so beauteous in the springtime!  The sky has been super blue (which is a nice change), the foliage is the greenest because of all the rain, and now there are flowers everywhere!  They grow in gardens, on trees, even in people's lawns they just pop up all over.
Thanks for the FB update!  That sounds much better.  Luke, Benj, and AndyWilliamson'slittlebrother really is kind of funny.  Did they hit it off?
Although I almost died when I heard Adri got her mission call, I was also pretty excited.  Adri you should really consider that.  I think you would fit in pretty well in Mozambique. ;)
So this week we had had a ton of lessons planned but a lot of them fell through....  Tawnya and Laurie both did.  The biggest disappointment in missionary work is other people having free agency!  Not really, it's just when they make the wrong choices with their agency, but that's kind of the point of it all isn't it?  Karin is actually back on date for April 13th, but transfer calls are this Saturday so we'll see if I'm still here or not.  It doesn't matter to me if I'm there when she's baptized, I just want it to happen eventually.  Oh, and if I am transferred I don't know if I'll be able to e-mail you or not, hold on, yeah I just asked and if not Monday I'll get to e-mail Tuesday regardless.
Yesterday we taught this lady named Dorothy who's a very young-looking great grandma, a baptist, a widow, and a firm believer in God and in the power of prayer.  We had talked to her on her doorstep before about the Book of Mormon and yesterday we read and discussed 3 Nephi 11.  Strangely she seems to have automatically accepted the Book of Mormon as being true.
Well, I love you lots.  Keep me updated on cool stuff!  Huge and kisses,
Elder Georgia
March 25, 2013

Subject: Chronicles of Karinia
Karin did not get baptized yesterday (two days ago).  On Friday at district meeting we found out that the Pringle Ward sister missionaries had a baptism scheduled for 1:00, the same time as Karin's.  We called the baptismal font scheduler we had talked to before and we found out that she was the baptismal font coordinator for Monmouth Stake!  We live in the Salem Stake!  So we rescheduled the baptism for 2:15 and started calling everyone in the ward to tell them about the time change, then we thought that maybe we should call Karin herself.  When I told her what happened she said, "Actually, I was thinking we should call it off."  Sigh.
We went over there that night to talk to her about it.  We were really hoping that we could talk her into it, and the lesson was super spiritual.  Karin told us she knew that it was right and she really wants to be baptized, but she says she needs to talk to her son about it again to make sure he's okay with it.  I don't think that Laurence would really have a problem with it, I think that the adversary is just trying to make her afraid.  I believe that Karin will be baptized it might just take a while.  Sister Gyebi-Quarcoo in our ward was telling us that when she was being converted, she didn't cancel her baptism, she just didn't show up to it!  She did that three times!  Then one day she just decided to show up to church and she asked to be baptized then.  Everyone came out of sacrament meeting to watch her be baptized!  Haha I can only imagine how her poor elders felt.  Anyways, we'll continue to work with Karin.
MIRACLE(S) OF THE WEEK:  We have been having a hard time finding new investigators.  We set a goal to find two this last week, which is a fairly low goal.  Monday night after P-Day, we tried to visit an investigator but he wasn't home.  So we decided to knock on the doors around his house.  No one was really interested, and we were about to get in the car when Elder Tandy said he had seen a lady walking her dog and kids and that she had turned in to a house and that we should knock on it.  We went over there and a boy answered the door so we asked for a parent, he said hold on, then we heard this ferocious barking.  This tiny little monster (some kind of rottweiler-dachsund) came running out and we heard, "No don't touch him!"  As I was bending down to try to keep him from running away.  The woman of the house grabbed the dog so I fortuitously escaped mutilation, and we started out the door approach laughing which is a nice change.  We smoothly transitioned into introducing the Book of Mormon, what it is and why it's so important.  We said a prayer with her on her doorstep and she was happy to set up a return appointment.  After that, we visited a lady I had talked to with Elder Palmer who didn't seem really interested in religion, but that night she was very receptive, she said we had caught her at a good time because of spring break and we set up an appointment with her directly after the other lady's.  Their names are Tawnya and Laurie respectively, and we're visiting both of them tonight. :D
It has been spring for a while! (see attachments) but it's not real warm and the rain is super sporadic and annoying.  Not that I mind the rain, but you can never tell if it will be sunny or rainy because it will probably be both.   
March 18, 2013

Olo!  So guess what!  New worldwide missionary policy on e-mail is:

1. You may e-mail friends back home and
2. missionaries in other fields of labor but
3. not in your own mission however
4. you may e-mail converts of the same gender inside your missions.

Hooray!  So now anyone who receives these e-mails can e-mail me!

So Karin the greatest is now on date for this Saturday the 23rd at 1:00!  Laurence coming to visit seems to be a fluke of Karin's imagination and so now he isn't.  She came to church yesterday and loved it as usual.

Every time we meet with Doug and Autumn (less-active/nonmember) and their five kids they open up a ton more than they did the last time.  The kids are one by one getting a lot more friendly and talkative and Doug and Autumn are getting more and more involved in the lessons.  It's great.

We went dog-walking with the Ridderbusches on Saturday again and it was really awesome.  I was on exchanges with the Zone Leader, Elder Collins, and he's a real good teacher.  We taught them The Gospel of Jesus Christ and it really resonated with them.

March 11, 2013

Subject: Blisters but Bueno
Nice alliteration huh?  I'm glad you enjoyed that letter even though it got kind of messed up.  Life at home sounds fun.  It's spring here too!  Only it's been spring for quite a while already.
So about the blisters, there's a less-active guy in our ward by the name of Bro. Struckman who likes to have us come over and make us split his wood.  He just got a ton of green wood from somewhere and he had these nice big axes we were using but I had never done it before!  Why didn't you teach me, Father??!  Haha no but it was harder than it looks.  At first I had no idea what I was doing so nothing much was happening when I hit the wood, but after a bit (and after Bro. Struckman started a few for me) I got the hang of it and it's actually pretty fun!  I'm sore now and I've got a few blisters but it's all good.  Hopefully by splitting his wood we can get him to come to church eventually....
Last night we had dinner with the Gunns.  They have an 18 yr. old son, a 16 or so yr. old daughter  and two younger sons around 12 and 10.  Dinner started out pretty normal, but as it progressed the kids' stories got crazier and they were doing ridiculous things and all their inside jokes were flying around and they were all just laughing hysterically.  The parents were somewhat mortified but they reminded me so much of our own family and how we ridiculous we can get and it was nice.  We were never that crazy around the missionaries but you know....  It's actually very difficult for me to view myself the same way I viewed other missionaries, even right before I left.
So now to the actual important things of thew week: Karin is back on date for baptism!!!  March 30th!  I'm not really sure how it happened, but after coming to church, then having a great lesson with the Pilobellos present, Elder Tandy just asked her and she just said yes.  Woot!  Now the challenge:  Her son Laurence is coming to visit within the next few weeks.    He was opposed to her baptism before and so now we'll have to follow the Spirit in how to deal with this because I've got no ideas.  Best-case scenario: Karin, Laurence, his wife and son all get baptized.  We won't discuss the other cases.  Prayers would be very appreciated.
I really wish I had more time to write stuff, but I'm trying to keep up the Journal writing so we'll have a lot to talk about when I get back.  I should go now!
Love you!
Elder Georgia
February 25, 2013

It's transfers!  And Elder Palmer is going to go away........  He's going to go train again in Medford.  My new companion's name is Elder Tandy-Trammel.  I haven't met him yet though, that will happen at 1:30.  I'll be staying in Salem.  Transfers are happy and sad.  Exciting and scary.  Yeah.

Answers to questions from Mom:

I'm great!  I did have a good week!
The new missions will be created in July sometime and whoever is in the Oregon Salem Mission boundaries  at that point will remain in that mission.  It will probably take from both the Portland and Eugene missions because Salem is split up between those.  It would be weird to start out in the Oregon Eugene and finish in the Oregon Salem but it's not that uncommon.  I would miss President Young, but I love Salem and the Salem mission's initials will spell OSM -> awesome which would be kind of cool....

The cello in the picture belongs to a ward member.  Salem is pretty much the most musical place ever which I hear is because of the phenomenal music program at Sprague Highschool.  Last night Elder Palmer had his cello and I had borrowed a violin and we played hymns for an old guy in the ward.  then we went over to Joel's house so he could play his viola with us and we jammed for a while.  Yeah that was in our apartment which was recently inspected and we were informed that it was terrible! > x <  We had actually cleaned it up a lot but missionaries have been living in that apartment for a loooooong time and it's really hard to get the dirt out of all the corners and the people inspecting the apartment were super strict.
Richard who found the burned B o M is currently being hard to contact but even if he doesn't continue the lessons right now he had contact with the restored gospel and hopefully he'll be drawn back to it soon.
My area is quite large but we spend most of our time in a very small suburban portion where everyone lives.  We had gone tracting in the far reaches when I took that picture.  Most of the mountains are short but there's the occasional really tall one like Mt. Hood and Mt. Angel and there's another one that I can't remember.  I think they may be volcanoes.  You should find that out for me.  The frosty pics are actually outside of my area.  We were doing a service project with some other elders.

The work is coming great!  We've been having problems helping people make and keep commitments but we are teaching people.  MIRACLE OF THE WEEK:  Do you remember Ryan?  Well one miracle, the last time we saw him he told us he had stopped drinking.  We haven't even taught him the Word of Wisdom!  Cha-ching!  But then we hadn't seen him for quite a while when we stopped by and his teenage daughter answered the door.  She told us he wasn't home and we talked about his schedule for a bit.  Then out of nowhere she said, "Actually I've been wanting to talk to you guys too.  My best friend from Colorado gave me a Book of Mormon, I'm halfway through first Nephi and I have some questions."  We were somewhat blown away and we eagerly agreed to start teaching her along with her dad.  We haven't taught them yet but she's going to be way easier to keep in contact with than Ryan so hopefully that will start soon.  Her name is Hyatt.  We've taught the Ridderbusches two dog-walking lessons now-not lessons on how to walk their dogs but gospel lessons while walking with them with their dogs-and they're going great.  They're making small changes in their lives that are helping them to come back to the Gospel.  Meeting with them has really reminded me that we all need to continue to re-apply gospel principles in our lives and rediscover our testimonies again and again.  That's why we go to church every week and why we read the scriptures over and over.  Because we all need to constantly be reminded to improve ourselves.  So we keep track of how many lessons we teach, specifically the number of lessons taught to investigators with a member present, other lessons taught to investigators, and lessons taught to less-actives and recent converts.  All those combined from last week were the highest weekly numbers we've had.  Yay.

Getting cd's approved is quite easy.  My call packet did say only MOTAB and EFY but all you have to do is call up Sis. Young and say hey, can I listen to this?  And she'll say, is it uplifting?  And I'll say, yes, and she'll say, ok.  I know Limbs and Branches has good Christian values but it can't be as rocking as the Switchfoot stuff.  I also don't want music that teaches false doctrines.  We've been listening to a lot of terrible mormon 80's music that Elder Palmer's mom sent him.  And you know EFY music it's kind of pop musical so it's not that it needs to be motab or classical, what really matters is if you think it's "consistent with the sacred spirit of my calling" (paraphrased from the Missionary Handbook pg. 25)

February 18, 2013

So I titled this e-mail this because there's a really good teriyaki place in our area called Love Love Teriyaki AND because it was just Valentine's Day AND because I love love you.

I did feel very loved on Valentine's Day!  I got packages from Mom and from the Nelsons-which contained an extremely rare Adrianne letter!!!  Thanks so much for the love and sugar!

Last night at 6:30 we got to go to a fireside presented by Walter Rane! It was amazing.  I really want to spend the rest of my life painting now.  He's my favorite gospel artist, not just because he's in my ward, he's just the best.  However every time I look at a Walter Rane painting I will remember my first mission area.  Not only does the painter live here, but I'll be able to find the faces of the members of my ward throughout his amazing works. :D

I've learned that missionaries are to deep doctrine like flies are to honey.  Myself included.  We spend all day thinking about doctrine, we study the scriptures and PMG every day, then when we meet a knowledgeable ward member who starts talking about the deepest of the deepness, we can't pull ourselves away.  Haha it's the best.

In case anyone is interested this last week we taught the highest combined number of lessons ever!  Disclaimer: this only applies to lessons taught by me and my comp within the last two transfers.

People in Oregon are really good cooks....

Well this e-mail is about as random as it's going to get!  I better go!

Love love Elder Georgia

p.s. I don't really appreciate all the pictures of Seth that I can't see his face in....  Luke and the Ariases are cute though.  The one of Seth running away IS pretty great too.  Here's some pictures from me!  This is that Book of Mormon I told you about.

February 11, 2013

It looks like I have a lot of congratulitudes to give!  Goooooooo Brittany!  Serving the Lord is the best!  It'll be fun for you and Hailey to be able to see each other in the MTC.  Neither of you are going to the BEST mission in the world, which is the Oregon Eugene, but you're both going to great places.  You'll love the east coast!  When's the report date and what's the actual mission name?

However fam, the white handbook states that, "Visits from family members, friends, and acquaintances are against Church policy."  So you won't be able to visit either of these lovely sister-missionaries-to-be, but it's cool that they're nearby.

Then I can hardly believe that there's another Arias!  That's crazy!  Congregations Nenna and Juan!  I can't wait to meet Ada (will she be at all like Eden???).  Keep me updated on the two distant Arias children.  In fact, Nenna you should e-mail sometime.  And mom you should have all the Arias children write me letters!

I'm glad you're involved in so many fun homeschooley things.  It sounds fun.

So about me, no Gale and Larry aren't true investigators.  They mostly just came to church because they're nice.  But two days ago we talked to Martha who is an investigator we had been really excited about teaching in the past, but she sent us a text saying she was really busy and we needed to let her contact us when she was ready.  So we hadn't talked to her for like four weeks, and we just decided to stop by.  She was there and we set up a time to meet with her like nothing had happened!  It was a nice little miracle.  President Young came and met Karin, which was pretty nice of him.  He says she just needs time and some strong friends in the ward and she'll choose to be baptized herself.  It's too bad that we haven't had any baptisms yet, but good things are happening and we'll be doing all we can to help our investigators to progress to baptism.  There's also a less-active couple, the Ridderbusches,  we've been visiting who are pretty awesome.  We hadn't really broached the will-you-let-us-teach-you-the-lessons question with them, but they had us over for dinner last week and Bro. Ridderbusch out of nowhere asked us if we could walk with them and their dogs every saturday morning and teach them the lessons.  Did I mention that everyone and their dog has dogs in Oregon?  Everyone.  But we were pretty super happy about that.

As to progressing investigators, we actually didn't count anyone as progressing this week because no one came to church!  But Karin is still strong, we're meeting with Autumn still, Stephanie too, Martha came back, there's another lady by the name of Linda we're teaching, Ryan is sort of non-existent but one of these days we'll get in contact with him, teach him the first three lessons and commit him to baptism, we've been sort of teaching a woman named Rachael but her and her house have been sick, We found a new lady named Laury(?) who we haven't been able to teach yet, oh and there's a 13 yr. old girl named Ashley who's been attending church with a family in the ward and her mother has given us her consent to teach Ashley and her sisters the lessons and her and her husband may sit in too.  Right now we're trying to see how much of the family we'll be able to meet with, but there are five or six families in our ward who are somehow connected to this family so there will be a lot of support in bringing them into the fold. :D  That's pretty much it.

Yeah my life is pretty great right now.  I'm still coughing up a storm but I feel all better aside from that.  The ward members take good care of us, and we've been teaching quite a few people.  Oregon is beauteous and it's really nice now that it's gotten warmer, I can't wait for summer. :3  I hope you all have a happy Valentine's day, remember that my love fer all'yall is truer than stuff.

Elder Georgia
February 4, 2013
So it looks like the whole nation is ill.  I've been sick for about two days now.  Yesterday I was able to drag myself out of bed for sacrament, but we left after that so I could sleep more.  I'm fine, I'm just coughing and have a bit of a headache.  It's lucky that today is p-day so I'm not wasting too much time.  Hopefully I'll be better by tomorrow!
Miracle of the week!  So on Saturday I went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders.  One of them, Elder Thompson, came with me into my area which made me nervous because I'm still trying to figure out how to get around.  But we taught some lessons and then we were tracting a street and Elder Thompson was a really good example of talking to everyone we saw.  So we got e few return appointments and we were thinking of heading back when Elder Thompson started citing a statistic that one in a thousand people we talked to would join the church but if we used the name of a member they knew it went up to eighty in a thousand.  We were near the house of the Relief Society President who had just gotten released and we made a decision to talk to the house next door to her.  We were walking down the sidewalk and right as we were going past the front door a girl in her twenties opened the door and came out talking to us excitedly.  Neither I nor my companion understood her at first.  We were probably in shock.  But we went up to her and she was saying, "I was just about to leave but we can talk if you want to."  We couldn't go inside because her parents weren't there, but we agreed wholeheartedly and began to teach her about The Book of Mormon and The Restoration.  Her name's Cassie.  It turned out that she was taking an American religions class in college that talked about Mormonism.  She had heard good things and bad things about Mormons but she said she had never met a Mormon she didn't like.  Her parents knew their mormon neighbors and she knew they had always been nice.  She was very interested in learning from us so we set up a return appointment for thursday.  So we had an investigator come running to our arms, which is something that doesn't happen very often!  Unfortunately she's twenty and single, so we have to turn her over to the singles ward elders.....  It's okay though!  The spirit is what converts anyways!  Not us.  And as long as she can come into the fold of God I'm happy.
Well I can't really remember anything else that happened right now...  But it was a great week and I'm sure I'll get better soon so I can continue to serve!
Au Revoir!  I love you all!

Elder Georgia.
January 29, 2013

So sorry I couldn't tell you that this would be a day late, but P-day was temporarily moved to Tuesday because we got to go to the temple today!!  The Portland, Oregon temple is so gorgeous.

MIRACLE TIME!!!  So last Thursday Elder Palmer and I were biking around and we stopped to make a phone call when all these punk teenagers walked up and one of them asked for a Book of Mormon.  With hardly a word, my companion handed him one.  Neither Elder Palmer nor I believed that he actually wanted to learn anything, and sure enough as they walked off we watched as the kid pulled out a lighter and started burning it.  We turned around and rode away, and as we rode I berated myself for not talking to him first to dissuade him from foolish behavior, but I let it go.  The next day we got a call from the area's seminary teacher who gave us a referral for a man named Richard who wanted a copy of The Book of Mormon.  Unfortunately Richard lives in Salem 4th's area so we sent the referral on to them.  On Saturday after a baptism we were talking to the Salem 4th elders who told us about how they visited Richard, gave him a Book of Mormon, he let them in and they had a great experience teaching The Restoration to him and his girlfriend.  When asked why he became interested in The Book of Mormon, he told about how he found one on the ground that was burnt and waterlogged.  When he picked it up, he opened the cover and it said, "Elder Georgia," in it.  He visited his father who told him that an LDS building was just down the road, so Richard went there hoping to return it to it's owner.  He talked to the seminary teacher who got him interested and then the seminary teacher called us.  Why did the Book of Mormon have my name in it you ask?  Well in the MTC Sister Schrishuhn and Sister Langi gave everyone in our district a copy of The Book of Mormon with the challenge to read it for 30 min. a day and to highlight all the mentions of Jesus Christ.  However President gave us the same thing only it was hardback so I was using that one but keeping the one from my sisters on my desk.  Somehow it got into one of our backpacks, and because of that it was burned, abused, and left where one who was seeking truth would find it.  If it hadn't been the copy with my name in it, Richard may not have felt the need to return it and wouldn't have met the missionaries.  God truly works in strange and wonderful ways.

I actually had two investigators at sacrament meeting!  Elder Palmer (on the cello-he's super good) and I (on the violin) played Our Savior's Love and we invited a ton of people to come hear it.  Sacrament Meeting was about to start when finally Larry and Gale showed up.  They're just about the nicest slightly older couple on the planet (aside from my grandparents and anyone else reading this who feels they might fit that description ;)  But they do tons of service and charity work for the destitute and for broken families and such.  They loved sacrament meeting, but they had to leave afterwards.  There was also a less-active lady who showed up which was pretty amazing.  She's fairly young, always working, and she hasn't been active in a long time, and all we did was leave a note on her door about it and she came.  It was great.  But I'm so proud of you for bringing people!  Tell me all about that!  Who were they anyways?
January 21, 2013

He-ey! (make sure you pronounce that right)

So not a whole lot really happened last week-actually a lot happened but I don't remember it.....  I think I'm getting old.  My memory is slipping. Which is why I've made a goal to write a little in my journal each night!  It's hard for me because whenever I do write I feel like I need to write seven pages and I never have time for that but I just need to write a little blurb about the day!1111

Enough of my pointless dilemmas.  This is transfer week but my companion and me are both staying yay!  Sister Schrishuhn(from my MTC district)'s companion is going to be a traveling sister and Sister Schrishuhn is training!  After six weeks!  I'm glad I get the full twelve weeks but I'll be ready to train after that!

Yes transfers are every six weeks, except for this transfer which will only be five (so I guess I don't get twelve) because they're shortening missions by a week!  I did get the package and the apple cider and chex mix was (* [] *).  Hey next time could you send me my slippers?  Either the moccasins or the slip-ons it doesn't matter.  If one of those are in use you can send the other pair.

Oh so last week (I remember things!) we got to teach seminary with another companionship!  They have release time here though so it wasn't in the morning.  But we taught the same thing to four different classes in a row, one hour each plus lunchtime.  We started out with a roleplay with me as the average highschooled non-mormon and Elder Bertagnoli as my mormon friend and he shared the BoM with me and asked if I wanted to learn more.  So then he called Elder Andes and Elder Palmer in and they taught the first lesson and committed me to be baptized.  Then we talked to the class about missions and preparing, and we gave them cards and committed them to give them to their friends. It was awesome.  One girl brought a friend, and this friend later told a priest in our ward who told us at dinner yesterday that it was better than the leadership class she had that day!

Seth is definitely my twin.  Don't let Sister Spencer take away your right to run around the halls Seth!!!  But don't get addicted to the telly.  That's no buenito.

It's very cold here.  If I had brought my camera I could have sent pictures of everything covered in ice, but I didn't so I can't.  However since we were upgraded to full car it's not bad.

That's really cool about Christian and Kayla!  Now there will be so many Ariases!

I don't know anything about any German Shepherds. :)

Luke, you're schooling sounds so awesome right now!  Don't take it for granted, you are one lucky boy.  And I'm glad you've finally converted to the Church of Fred!  Brother Toma will be fun also.  Study Preach My Gospel too!  I know you've already read it, but I'm pretty sure you don't remember a billionth part of all the awesomeness contained in that book because I sure didn't before I entered the MTC.  For my scripture marking I've been color coding topically from the colors in the top of the chapters of PMG especially chapter three.  It's very useful.

Aside from that, Karin didn't come to church again because she's still feeling bad.  She'll be visiting the doctor soon.  We've started teaching a less-active-part-member family who seem pretty awesome.  The husband (Doug) is a member whose parents are also in 2nd ward and we met the wife(Autumn)'s mother through street contacting and randomly learned that they were related.  Doug and Autumn have five kids all under the age of eight and they're very friendly and receptive.  She's going to be baptized she just doesn't know it yet.

Random Scripture Factoids: Guess what?  I live in Salem!  Salem is Hebrew for "peace" and Melchizedek was the priest/king of Salem anciently.  If the greater priesthood was named after him he had to be awesome.  But the children of Israel proved that they couldn't keep the higher covenants so they were given the lesser priesthood (Aaronic) preparatory to the Melchizedek priesthood, and the Law of Moses preparatory to the coming of Christ!  When Christ came he again bestowed the Melchizedek priesthood upon his servants who in turn as resurrected beings bestowed it on Joseph Smith!


Elder Georgia
January 14, 2013

Good job with that missionary work fam!  I've definitely come to realize that just fellowshipping is the first step in member missionary work.  When we ask members for referrals sometimes they'll say they don't really know anyone.  Well unfortunately that's not really an excuse!  Every member a missionary, so to begin missionary work you've gotta find people first.  That's what us full timers have to do too, but it's easier for civilians because they can do it naturally.  We've been tracting this really long street out in the middle of nowhere with lots of big houses.  There's been some.... interesting.... experiences on that road hahaha.  Thanks for all the Seth stuff.  I knew he would remember me, and make sure you continue to give him his daily History of the Life and Times of Quinn lesson!  Make sure you continually take lots of videos for the next two years too.  Only, it's already been two months!  Is that crazy or what?
Oh Luke, I hate you.  Looking all cool and fashionable.  White shirts, black jackets, and ties get pretty old.  I really like your jacket though!  And actually I love you!
Haha Lindy you funny you.  I'm sending you a mail mail today. :D
Adrianna Hopalina May, send me some mail!  I'll try to write you tooo!
Thanks Mom and Dad for writing, I love you both!
Seth!!!!!!! - 3 - (a kiss)
Baby!!!!!!! :P
I'm doing wellsomely and my companion and investigators are too.  Sometimes I get frustrated that missionaries aren't all as mature as I thought they would be, but I see miracles weekly and am constantly amazed by how awesome our members are.  And how well they cook. :[  ]  I haven't gained any weight in case you're wondering.  This week we watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (best movie ever [better than Dark Knight Rises])at a member's home with Karin.  Because of Karin's age I was worried that she would fall asleep in the middle of it, but as we watched the movie, I watched as both of the members whose home we were in dozed off, while Karin's eyes never strayed from the screen.  When we asked her what she thought of it, she just cried.  She still wants her son to understand before she is baptized, but she has a very strong testimony. 
Tell Megan to write me when she gets her call! 
Oh for my birthday, there's a new MOTAB album I really want!!  I think it's called Teach Me to Walk in the Light and it's all primary songs!!!!! 
I need to go now bye love you!
January 7, 2013

Well unfortunately Karin was not baptized on Saturday.  She isn't being supported in her decision by her son in Germany who is her only family in the whole world and she just wasn't feeling up to it.  We hope that by this Saturday she can be peaceful about her decision to be baptized.  She knows the church is true, and she was interviewed by a Zone Leader and pronounced ready for baptism, but she's just too down right now.  She hasn't even let us visit in a while.  But never fear!  The Lord is still preparing her, and I know that she will receive the fullness of the Gospel.

Hey so you know those flavored honey sticks they have at Cox Farms and other places?  Well the owners of that company are IN MY WARD!  They're super awesome.  The father of the family invented them and the whole family is in the business.  They ship them all over America and to a bunch of other countries!  Yep my ward has a lot of famous people. :3

Missionary work is going well!  we've found a few new investigators who may turn out to be very interesting.  Yesterday on this one street through tracting we found one man who couldn't talk to us because he was taking care of his sick wife, but he's Muslim and he believes in all religions!  Yeah that will be cool.  A little farther down the street there was a young guy named Justin who was pretty interested (which is unusual in itself).  He said he had attended a Mormon church once with his friend when he was younger, had read some of the Book of Mormon, and that he always noticed the "Mormons" who walked around in the rain and didn't care (the missionaries).  So yeah we'll go back there.  Oh and next door-it was like a duplex or something-Justin's father answered the door, said his wife was mormon but he was catholic and that they would probably both be interested in reading the Book of Mormon.  Two Book of Mormons, one house! :D

December 31, 2012

So last week we were looking through our potential investigator list and we saw a name that was circled and the info told us to try him again in January.  We decided that it was close enough to January so we went over to meet him.  I saw him on the phone through the front window and thought, "Great, he's just going to tell us he's busy," but we knocked on the door, he opened the door, looked at us, then told the person on the phone to call back and he invited us in.  He told us his name was Ryan and that he had been drinking, but he seemed very lucid.  He then proceeded to tell us his life story, that he had known and loved the LDS church his whole life, that a lot of bad stuff had happened to him lately, that missionaries had been stopping by all last year but he always told them that it wasn't a good time, and that it was amazing that we had come at that exact moment.  He kept telling us that he was receptive, that he had been wanting to go to church for a long time, and that he was ready to take whatever steps he needed to.  It was a very emotional and spiritual experience.  We hadn't known that Ryan needed us then, but God had known and He sent us.  We've had two appointments with him that have fallen through, and it turns out that he works every Sunday for about three months.  But whatever happens with Ryan, I know that that night we were in the right place at the right time, and I'm positive that he will eventually embrace the gospel and join the church.

Karin is getting baptized January 5th which is this Saturday. :)  We also finally had the first lesson with a hispanic woman named Martha who lives alone with her sixteen year old daughter.  The daughter wasn't there, but Martha seemed interested and receptive.  My favorite part of the lesson was after she had been telling us how she prayed a lot by herself and we tied that into how God is our literally our Heavenly Father and he loves us, and she said, "Oh is that why when I pray I feel so peaceful and good about myself?"  It totally clicked.  She isn't fond of organized religion but I think the mother and the daughter will both come this Sunday and see Karin getting confirmed!

It's really cold!  No hippies but we were informed that we were servants of the devil because we say that Lucifer is Christ's brother....  Like somehow that could degrade Jesus Christ.  I wanted to say, "So where did Lucifer come from you batty woman?  If he didn't come from God then he would have power equal to God's, which he doesn't.  But obviously God didn't create him evil so he must have fallen from glory, and you're a crazy witch!"  But I didn't.  I just tried to bear my personal testimony of the Savior but she shut the door.  Oh Babylon we bid thee farewell....

Elder Palmer IS great.  Insane, but all the best people are.

I love you all!  Have a Happy New Year!

December 17, 2012

Hahaha I'm in Oregon.  I haven't even been here for a week yet and it feels like it's been forever.  In a good way. 
My companion's name is Elder Palmer, he's a little shorter than me, he's from Arizona but he loves the cold and the rain, and he's addicted to Dr. Pepper.  The fact that he's training after only three months (his first companion was his trainer, his second companion is me, his trainee) testifies of his awesomeness, not mine.
Yes that is definitely my apartment, it's probably the nicest in the whole mission.  We live above the garage of a very nice member family, the Moons, and they still have that kid and that dog.  I've still only briefly met them though.  We've got two bathrooms, each with a shower--but only one working toilet--a bedroom, an office/study room, a nice big kitchen/living room area with a comfy sofa and workout equipment.  It wasn't very clean when I got there though and the kitchen is (still) full of disgusting ancient food but it's finally p-day so we can buy new food and garbage bags to throw away the old food!!! Yay!!!  Oh and our apartment is decorated with some famous church art because the artist lives in our ward but I can't write full names (last name Rane)!  I really want to meet him.......  Our ward mission leader is a really cool guy who makes art from natural artifacts like exotic beetles and shells and butterflies.  It's super cool and he's really well off.
Hey Luke let you read the letter I sent him right?  I'll write letters specifically to him but they're for everyone.  Luke I will answer your snail-mail today.  If I have time. :D
But anyways, President Young was awesome, everything's awesome, and green.  My first day, right after arriving at our apartment, we left our apartment with the Ward Mission Leader to go teach an investigator.  Her name's Karin and she's lady in her 70's who was bombed out of Germany as a child.  I haven't been able to piece her story together very well yet because she left Germany as a child, but has worked in the fashion industry in Hollywood and Germany, and she's lived in Oregon for about four years.  Her daughter was married to a Mormon man in the temple but she died very young.  Karin has an amazing sense of humor.  She generally answers the door with a scowl, tells us she's not interested, please go away, then almost slams the door in our faces before pulling it open and laughingly inviting us in.  When I met with her for the first time she hadn't yet been to church.  Apparently every week she's been coming up with some excuse, not feeling well or whatever, so this visit Elder Palmer just planned on convincing her to come to church but somehow we wound up teaching the Word of Wisdom.  It was amazing.  Karin practically already lives the gospel, but she drinks very watered down wine at parties, and weak coffee some mornings.  My skills learned at the MTC were put to use as I was able to join in the teaching.  She committed to living the Word of Wisdom and coming to church.  Haha I told her that it was my first time in that ward too, and that she should come so that I would know somebody.  We met with Karin on Saturday to remind her about church, then called her at 11:00 (church is at 12:30) to remind her again, and on Sunday she came.  It was one of the best experiences ever.  Karin payed close attention to the speakers all three hours, and she was swarmed the whole time by just about the nicest people on the planet who all wanted to meet her and be her friend.  She told us how grateful she was for us and that she wasn't sure she would come that morning because she didn't know anyone, but she was so glad she came.
Our ward is super cool.  I've already mentioned a few people, but the Bishop is awesome, the ward mission people are awesome, everyone's awesome.  On a side note though, the people in Oregon have THE WEIRDEST names.  Lots of them sound like they're just made up words, case in point, the Gyebi-Quarcoo's (try pronouncing that!).  Which leads me to another of the ward's coolest.  The Gyebi-Quarcoo's are an afro-carribean-british family, need I say more?  They're super outgoing and love to have a good time.  We have FHE with them tonight, I can't wait. :[  ]But anyways, the whole ward is great.
Tracting isn't as scary as I thought it would be, but it's something that my companion and I need to work on more.  So many people just answer the door and say, you know, I'm already Christian, then they close it.  No one has been outrightly rude yet, but I think there's a lot of negative feeling towards the church here.  Some streets are worse than others.  Some people are just really, really, really, weird.  However among the Oregon coldness, there's always someone who's friendly, who will talk to us, who will take a Book of Mormon and promise to read it.  Overall I love being a missionary.  I love you all and pray for you!
To Mom: The basement sounds awesome, send a picture!  Wait... yeah the zone leaders approve.  If there's anyone in the ward or stake who's connected to me somehow, you can send my e-mails to them.  Is there any way you could find how to also send them to Sariah Harris?  Half of my relations seem to be missing from that list too, but I'll leave that up to your judgement.  For Christmas send me whatever your dear self wants to send and I will be overjoyed.  I haven't felt a strong need for another raincoat yet, my pea coat is warm.  But next week we won't have the car anymore so I may be wanting one then....  But I think it would be easier for everyone involved if I just buy it here.  I love you and everyone else too!
Share the Book of Mormon with everyone you meet!  The missionaries in your wards need your help!  Uncle Sam wants you!

Elder Georgia
December 8, 2012

My time at the MTC is coming to a close.  It's really weird to think about.  I'm about to ACTUALLY START BEING A MISSIONARY....  Woot!  So I've gotten lots of stuff from various people and I'll break it down so you know who I'm talking to.  None of it will be confidential though, so feel free to read the whole thing.

Mom:  Thanks so much for all the cookies. Stop. Please don't send more for now, I'm drowning in sugar. Stop. For Christmas I would also love to have my black/checkered slip-on shoes and some of my all-white socks, the ones in my drawer not the ones in Dad's drawer those are dross, so dross, or maybe I should just buy those things in Oregon. STOP.  I actually brought my letters today so I can answer your questions.  I haven't climbed a single tree or building while I've been here.  I went to the temple with my district which was awesome.  Things are all good.  Of course I'm keeping the rules, all except wearing flip-flops in the shower which I absolutely REFUSE to do (not that that's really a rule anyways, it's more of a guideline anyways).  I just got my hair cut!  That's cool that you got my room painted finally.  I hope you don't stress too much about the little chico.  He'll come to our family when he's ready to (maybe we'll get a baby boy for Christmas!  Our own babe wrapped in swaddling clothes! :D ) and I'm just annoyed that I won't get to see him for two years.  Or so.  I am SO excited for Christmas.  Missionary work is going to be AMAZING with all that Christmas cheer around.  Hey could you send me the list of people you send these e-mails to?  I also need Kristen's address, so you should bug somebody about it.  Thanks and love!

Dad:  That's really cool that you got to help with the sandy project!  I'm sure it was a super fun experience.  Hey did you send that one super secret thing I left with you before I got on the plane?  How's stuff going?

Luke:  You have to respond to my letter before I respond to yours.  Then I'll respond to both of them.  Actually in the two new districts we got in our zone, there's a bunch of missionaries going to D.C. South (you live in that mission right?) so definitely ask new missionaries if they know me.  In fact, an Elder Seal is going to D.C. South and he came from Oregon!  So we're trading homes!!! (actually he's from Portland which is right outside my mission, but you know, it's still cool) How do I sound different in my letters?

Adrianne: HAPPYHAPPYHAPPYHAPPYIDIDN"TFORGETYOURBIRTHDAY!!!!!!!  Did you get the extremely expensive birthday card I hand-picked specially for you and didn't put any effort into making myself? ;)

Seth: Doodoodoo.

Lindy: I'ma so glad you wrote me!  I'll write you back by snail-mail eventually!!!!  And thanks for the thumbprint cookies and fudge.  I almost died when I opened it. :3

Grandpa Shum:  That's awesome that you're doing missionary work too!  As part of our online missionary tasks we watched a video about how to find investigators through genealogy so that's really cool that you've been doing that!  Keep up the family history work!  That's missionary work also, and it's just as important as living missionary work!

Grandma Shum:  Thanks so much for the Christmas sweets, they're delicious!  Also thanks for keeping in touch!  I'm sorry to hear about Pete and Natalie.  Give them my love and tell them I pray for them.  The Brad Wilcox talk sounds interesting but I don't know yet if there's a rule about talks on cd.  Did you know I took a mission preparation class from Brad Wilcox at BYU?  It was really cool.  I'm glad to hear about the family history and well-doing just don't let it wear you out too fast!

AJ Shums:  I'm so happy to hear about the new addition!! (although I wanted you to name him Levi Daniel but you know...)  Seth will have lots of cousins to play with!  Brittany I got SO EXCITED when I heard about your decision to go on a mission.  Sister missionaries are the greatest!!!  As times get worse, it's becoming critical that more and more young people are endowed with power from on high.  I'm not sure how far along you are in the decision making process, but it's super awesome any way you look at it.  I'm definitely expecting a letter when you get your mission call. :)  Enoch, I'm really sorry that you're going through this pain.  I think about you often and pray for you daily.  I love all of you and hope everything goes well for you.

Walkers:  So I was kind of dumbstruck when I got those cupcakes.  That was right before I got a huge box of treats from Grandma and Lindy and then I just about died.  But it made me laugh. :D  I tried all of them and they're all amazingly delicious but I haven't gotten around to eating them all yet haha.  I'm so happy for you Hailey!!!!!!!!  I don't know any more about your mission stuff than I do about Brittany's so all the same things I said to her apply to you.  Write me when you get your call!  You'll be an amazing missionary!  I love you all!

Georgia fam:  I haven't heard much news from your side!  You can e-mail or dear elder if anything exciting happens!  Any babies born?  Any crazy family parties?  I would love to hear from any and all of you!  I also love any and all of you!

Everyone:  I love you!  Thanks for the letters, I will reply!

p.s. There's been some rumors (well, more than rumors really) that China will open up to missionary work soon.  Stay on the lookout. ;)
November 30, 2012

Hello beautiful fam! (and others who will get this forwarded)  How you doing?   
I just had to go buy a new binder because I filled up the last one.  With notes.  We just got two brand spanking new districts in our zone.  22 new missionaries!  Some of them are going to D. C. South, which is right next to home, and the rest are going to Washington Tacoma which is right next to my mission. One of our zone leaders is leaving earlier than the rest of us so the next ones have been chosen from the new Elders.  Poor new Elders.  But things in my district have been going really well.  We all love each other soooooooo much.  Sometimes they get a little rowdy and sadly it's my responsibility to keep them in check, but it's fun overall.  
 Teaching is going well.  One of our investigators, Nickson, dropped us flat on our last visit.  He wasn't interested in joining a church.  He wouldn't even pray to see what God wanted him to do!  He said that God would just tell him, but he wasn't interested in exercising faith in God by asking.  It was kind of depressing but it was a good learning experience.  All the investigators are paid actors, but it's easy with ours to tell who's a member and who isn't.  The members get all interested and prompt us when we're having trouble explaining something, and the nonmembers are pretty hardened against the gospel.  But sometimes, according to the other Elders in my district, there are difficult investigators who will flash their garments if you start to get discouraged lawl.  Oh so mom you know Brooks Baker that homeschooler kid?  Well he sang a duet with his cousin at a devotional and I was like, HEY I KNOW THAT ELDER!  Except I really don't know him, but I know who he is.  
I've met some interesting people and seen some interesting things here.  One of the Elders from The District 2 (those videos we were watching), Elder Murray, taught one of my workshops.  I tried to get him to sign his picture in my MTC Experience booklet-thing but he wouldn't.  He crushed all my hopes and dreams.  I saw President Monson's grandson-Elder.  I also supposedly met the Elder from the Mormon on drugs YouTube video (a video that went viral of an LDS guy who was getting his wisdom teeth taken out so he was all in happy land and stuff and he accidentally swears and starts crying cuz he swore and yeah... it's dumb but kind of funny.  The thing is I would have thought he would already be on his mission by now.).  It looked like him but I wasn't sure.  
Hey mom, I know I'm not punctuating or grammaring very well right now but I can't really bring myself to care since I'm trying to get this typed fast. :D  Oh then in our residence we have these big dressers with secret compartments in the top that people like to store things in and we found a luggage tag in ours that said David Archuletta and had an address.  It's plausible that it's his because he did go through this MTC but you know it could be a prank.  I don't have it though, someone else ended up keeping it.  I've also seen Elder Erekson the first day, Sister Anderson, Elder Scholes, and six other Elders from BYU. Thanks for the dear elders!  That really does work better, and I like to be able to re-read them.  Also I was feeling left out because almost everyone in my district gets tons of mail.  I cried for hours every night (no I didn't but you know).  
I'm glad things are going well at home, I think that's awesome that Luke and Dad are going to help the Sandy victims.  I'm totes jelly.  We saw a video about the helping hands helping out with Sandy.  It was so touching.  Hey in 17 Miracles, I'm related to Levi Savage right?  Or was it someone else cuz I told one of my sisters that I was and then I was like wait...... that may be a lie.  
 Well I can't really think of anything else to write, I should have brought the dear elders with me so that I could respond to what you said better but whatevs.  I love you all mucho mucho.
Love, Elder Georgia
November 19, 2012

Hiya darling family!
First day at the MTC = awesome!  It was pretty confusing, sometimes intimidating,but overall it was fun.  I LOVE my companion (I am required to say that ;-)  The food is exactly like Cannon Center food.  I've seen Elder Erekson, Elder Scholes (from the CV 1st ward), and some guys from school.  I'm still way confused about what I'm actually going to be doing, but I look forward to it all.  Oh yeah and my departure date is Dec. 12th -- I'm actually here for four weeks because of Thanksgiving.  Well, that's pretty much it.  I'm going to work really hard and have lots of fun.  I love you all.
So it's now the third day and I thought I should just add a bit more to this.  Last night I was called to be District Leader.  My head almost burst open... There's SO much I have to do and I can still hardly find my way around.  But it's pretty cool too.  I love my district so I'm sure it will be fun and it's not like I'm doing this alone.  My comp was called as the senior companion and the other two elders in our room are the Zone Leaders, which makes reporting really easy.  My branch president is awesome -- he's barely 5 feet tall -- and of course the Lord is here for me so I don't need to worry.  Oh, and it looks like I can email on Saturday so you'll probably get the email before this letter.
Ta-ta for now! 

I am LOVIN' the MTC!  It's awesome.  My compe is Elder Benard and yes he's going to my same mission.  There are six elders and four sisters in my district and they're all amazing people.  I've been called as the DL which is interesting........  Yet awesome.  There is NO MUSIC ALLOWED except for our singing of course which we do all the time.  My teachers are the best and the Spirit is so strong here.